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Art in Society Symposium

Friday, February 21, 2020

Art in Society’s Sustainability Symposium is an all-day event for the whole community, featuring internationally known guest artists, speakers, and student artists in a day of celebration and learning as Citizen Artists. Guided groups will rotate between Idyllwild Arts campus venues to explore sustainability-inspired music, dance, visual art, poetry, and science. Join us for this transformative event!


Event Schedule

Our Welcome to the Community begins at 8:30 am in William M. Lowman Concert Hall. Guided groups will enjoy presentations at three venues before breaking for a sustainably sourced lunch in Nelson Dining Hall. Groups will visit three more venues in the afternoon, followed at 4:30pm by a Closing Gathering for the Community.

Symposium Welcome: Bill Madrigal, Cahuilla Cultural Ambassador

William M. Lowman Concert Hall

Bill Madrigal Sr., Mountain Cahilla and Luiseño member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians in Anza is leader, and cultural educator serving communities for decades. Bill will kick off the symposium day and share why sustainability is important to all Cahuilla people. Madrigal will also share an opening Cahuilla Bird song to kick off the day’s events. Bird Songs of the Cahuilla Tribe of Southern California tell the story of creation and of the people’s relationship to all living things. As a Cahuilla Bird Singer, Bill Madrigal’s responsibility is to sing and conduct himself with respect for his culture and to teach others of the tribe who show a similar sincere commitment.

Colin Beavan, Keynote Speaker

William M. Lowman Concert Hall

Colin Beavan PhD attracted international attention for his year-long lifestyle-redesign project and the wildly popular book, No Impact Man, and the Sundance-selected documentary film that it inspired. He is a sought-after speaker, coach and consultant, ran for the US House of Representatives in New York’s 8th Congressional District in 2012, was the founder of the No Impact Project, a board member of Transportation Alternatives, an advisory council member of, a guest professor at Sarah Lawrence College and a senior dharma teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen. He is the author, most recently, of How to Be Alive: A Guide To The Kind of Happiness That Helps The World.

Is it possible to live sustainably, making no carbon impact on your environment? How would you do this?

Premier Choreography featuring Academy Dance Student Brooke Manning

Rush Hall

Senior Dance major Brooke Manning reveals her new work based on the essential theme of sustainability. Using the language of movement, her dance expresses feelings that go beyond words, striking the heart of human coexistence with nature and what is at stake if we ignore this fundamental relationship.

What does sustainability mean? Is it only environmental? How can we explain it without words?

Exploring The Natural World featuring Academy Visual Arts, InterArts, and Creative Writing Students

Toback Trail

Students from Visual Arts, Inter Arts and Creative writing will lead a project on the Toback Trail in which they explore and present the natural world with all its diversity and resilient sustainability. The project includes creating hundreds of cyanotype images of plants and natural features on the trail. Cyanotypes are a photographic printing process that uses sunlight to produce an image on photosensitive fabric.

As the whole school community walks the trail and hangs the images on a string that extends along its length, we will find ways of connecting the school community to the communities that make up the natural world. Lead Students, Elaine Zhang, Sebastian Bateman, Ruo Wei Aleca Lee, Jaehyun Jeon.

How does The Trail and its story help us with sustainability?

The Lakota Music Project, The Neighborhood Music School and Academy Music Students

Stephens Recital Hall

For over 10 years members from the South Dakota Symphony and Lakota tribal musicians on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have collaborated on a musical project. Bringing together their different cultural practices, they have learned about each other’s instruments, sounds, and melodies. Together they have created a body of new works that were recently featured when they played at the Washington National Cathedral and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. Two of the musicians, Jeff Paul and William Cedeno are IAA alumni. Jeff has composed the music for the Lakota Music Project, and also worked with teens at Pine Ridge on musical composition. Our students, along with students from the Neighborhood Music School, will play some of their works.

How does creative collaboration help with human sustainability?

The Neighborhood Music School was founded in 1914 as a Settlement house with a mission to provide low cost/high quality one on one music instruction and mentorship to the immigrant families that had settled in Boyle Heights, just east of Downtown Los Angeles. Over its 106 year history, NMS has served generations of students from a myriad of backgrounds, ensuring that music education is not only accessible, but that music is informative of the whole community and the whole student. Neighborhood Music School serves as an example of the longevity, relevance and resilience that the arts bring to the sustainability and health of the community and the individual. Their advanced string quartet players will join Academy Music students and The Lakota Music Project to play a concert that includes works by young artists on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

How do arts programs bring sustainability to communities?

Video Art Installation featuring Academy Film & Digital Media Student Ekaterina Gladkaia

Bruce Ryan Sound Stage

Film and Media Arts students create a multi-screen installation exploring Sustainability as it relates to our environment, community, and self. This immersive experience involves a performance-based multi-sourced video projection switched live with music recorded by The Lakota Music Project. Lead student Ekaterina Gladkaia is a second year senior.

How does art enhance our understanding of sustainability?

Dr. Wade Jeffrey, PhD Acclaimed Oceanographer

Krone Library

Dr. Wade Jeffrey is a Distinguished University Professor, Director of the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation and Director of the Reubin O’D. Askew Institute of Multidisciplinary Studies. He is trained as an oceanographer with a specialization in marine microbial ecology. For most of his career he has focused on how ultraviolet radiation (UV) affects marine microbes. Since UV is almost everywhere, his lab has worked from the Arctic to Antarctic oceans, coral reefs, mountain lakes, the Mediterranean Sea, and our backyard in the Gulf of Mexico. More recently he has begun to investigate the extreme environments found in the Atacama Desert in Chile. His approach combines aspects of microbiology, oceanography, molecular biology, and photobiology. Since 2010 he has also been heavily involved with research associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. His team has done extensive work on the microbial diversity of the northeast Gulf of Mexico and how it is affected by oil. His current work focuses on how environmental parameters (for example sunlight, temperature, salinity) interact with oil to change its toxicity to marine microbes. He recently completed two trips to Antarctica to study the microbial ecology of mixotrophic phytoplankton. These unique organisms make their living as both plants and animals.

What are some examples of scientific advancement negatively impacting our environment? Is the trade-off worth the cost?

Masterclass with Members of The Lakota Music Project

Saturday, February 22, at 10:00 am in Stephens Recital Hall

This master class is open to all students and will focus on collaboration through many musical genres. Those leading the master class are principal wind players from the South Dakota Symphony who also coach strings and other instruments. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and any music they would like to share.

Erica Nashan

Art in Society Coordinator

Director, Community Arts Liaison, Performer, Teacher

With over thirty-five years of experience in the performing arts and professional training programs throughout the US, Ms. Nashan’s work encompasses international tour, collaboration with some of the industry’s finest in theatre, film, television and music, as well as award-winning development of grassroots arts programming for communities who deserve access to the arts. She continues to help others find their voice through her dedication to arts education and creative collaboration.

Art in Society Advisory Committee

James Kent Arnold
Film & Digital Media Faculty

Shaliyah Ben
Native American Arts Program Coordinator

Abbie Bosworth
InterArts / Fashion Design Chair & Creative Writing Faculty

Ken Carter
Film & Digital Media Faculty

Jennifer Chassman
Director of Innovation & Curriculum

Ginger Dagnall
Academy Administrative Assistant

Maisie Luo 
Arts Enterprise Laboratory Intern

David Reid-Marr
Visual Arts Chair

Heather Netz 
Coordinator of Music Partnerships

Shelly Short 
Film & Digital Media Chair

Don Stoll
Manager of Communications & International Student Relations

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